Germanwings crash: audio file recovered from Black Box, official says


?? – The director of the lead investigative agency said today that he recovered an audio file of the black box of the downed Germanwings flight, but failed to find the second black box of the Airbus A320 which crashed. crashed in the French Alps.

It comes after French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said in a previous press conference when he said the crews found the exterior of the black box but not the module that contains the memory equipment, well that the director of the Bureau of Investigations and Analyzes (BEA) then denied such a discovery.

“We have not located the black box,” said BEA director Rémi Jouty. “We did not find any debris from the black box and in the history of air accidents that we know … [we] can’t remember a recorder broken into small pieces. “

When asked if they had ruled out the possibility that the crash was the result of a terrorist attack, he said the BEA “is not ruling out any hypotheses at this point.”

They recovered an audio file from the first black box, the cockpit voice recorder, although no further details were revealed as to whether or not voices are heard on the recording.

Jouty noted that it would take days for the first findings to be released, although it will be weeks before a full understanding is clear, but he was able to weigh in and tentatively rule out several possible causes based on the motive. waste.

“The area looks very large but the debris looks very small, which is not at all consistent with a plane that exploded in the air,” Jouty said.

“At the moment, there is no information to suggest that the weather conditions were particularly bad,” he said.

Jouty said the flight path appears consistent with that controlled by a pilot, but this may also be attributable to the aircraft’s autopilot settings, saying it was “too early to draw any conclusions.”

One of the issues investigators face is the location of the crash site, as the area is very steep and unstable. Investigators and site crews should be linked to each other when near the crash site to ensure their safety, Jouty said.

“After 20 years in this industry and being a Lufthansa pilot myself, we still can’t understand what happened here yesterday,” Germanwings CEO Carsten Spohr said at a press conference in Barcelona tonight.

“We have an aircraft in perfect technical condition with two experienced pilots that was involved in such a terrible accident,” said Spohr.

Earlier today, Germanwings CEO Thomas Winkelmann noted that two Americans were on board the Germanwings flight which crashed. The US State Department has since confirmed that there were three Americans on board.

Two of the Americans were later identified as Yvonne Selke, an employee of Booz Allen, and Selke’s daughter, Emily, according to Betty Thompson, the company’s personnel manager.

Researchers returned to the scene of the crash today, as France’s interior minister said a voice recorder in the plane’s black box was damaged. Even so, said the official, Bernard Cazeneuve, the information on the recorder should be recoverable.

The CEO of Lufthansa, owner of Germanwings, said a full analysis of the voice recorder was due by Thursday. But Brice Robin, public prosecutor of Marseille, said on BFM TV that the black box results could take several days.

The initial focus for the voice recorder investigators will be “on human voices, conversations”, followed by cockpit sounds, French Transport Minister Alain Vidalies told Europe 1 radio this morning.

Police helicopter searches of the Airbus Germanwings crash site resumed Wednesday morning.

Xavier Roy, French air rescue coordinator, told ABC News that no bodies will be removed from the mountain today, and that the on-site investigation will take a week. Unlike other crash sites, Roy said, there isn’t much to find.

“When you go to a crash site, you expect to recognize parts of an aircraft.” he said. “Unfortunately, here you can’t see anything – just debris strewn all over the place.”

He added that this was a difficult area to search because it is “almost impossible to reach on foot” making it difficult for rescuers to enter and exit the area safely.

The main priorities now are the location of the bodies and the second black box, he said.

In addition to the 72 Germans, 35 Spaniards and two Americans on board, Winkelmann, the CEO of Germanwings, said there were two casualties each from Australia, Argentina, Iran and Venezuela. One victim each came from Britain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, Denmark, Belgium and Israel, he said, adding that the list is not yet final. because the company is still trying to contact the relatives of 27 victims. Winkelmann added that in some cases the nationality of victims was unclear due to possible dual nationality.

A German high school has released the names of its 16 students and two colleagues who were all on the flight and died in the crash while returning from a Spanish exchange program.

Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy were due to arrive today in the assembly area of ​​the crash.

The cause of the crash has not yet been determined, said the CEO of Germanwings. Lufthansa called the accident an “accident”.

“Seeing the crash site was heartbreaking,” Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr tweeted this morning. “We are in deep mourning. Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the victims.”

Emily Shapiro of ABC News contributed to this report.

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